Category Archives: House

Vinegar in Laundry

towelsIn my experience with three different brands of high efficiency washers over the years, I have found one thing to be true- they don’t clean laundry as well as the old fashioned agitator machines.  This is especially true with bath and kitchen towels- especially wash cloths.  They go in and out of the washer with soap and a little softener, but still come out smelling somewhat musty and sour.  Currently, I’m using a Maytag Neptune washer/dryer and I must say that it is the worst offender of this problem.  It’s gotten to the point that I set the washer for a pre-soak and an extra rinse and add Oxy Clean to the load along with the soap.  Seems a bit extreme, but when the job isn’t getting done, I do what I have to do.  

Last week, I mentioned this to my mother.  She suggested that I add vinegar to the load.  I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before- I love using basic and home remedy type products and ideas.  So, we added a cup of vinegar to the load in the beginning of the cycle and let it wash all the way through.  Let me tell you, I was quite pleased with the outcome.  There was a very faint vinegar scent after the towels were dried, but no musty/stale smell remained.  It’s quite refreshing! For the towels, I kept it on the longer cycle as I mentioned before.  

I have no doubt that this works on other clothes as well.  From my reading and research on it, other people use it to aid in stain removal, brighten whites, remove odors, and as an alternative to fabric softener.  It would provide relief to those with allergies as well, as an alternative to regular softeners.  

Are you using vinegar this way? Let me know how its going for you.  

-Olivia  white_vinegar

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Posted by on September 6, 2014 in House


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Rainy Day Project: Rocking Chair Rehab

Another rainy weekend in Georgia. Yes, indeed. The list of outdoor activities was rather short today. However, I found something to work on. The rocking chairs at the cabin were dry and thirsty, and have been for quite some time. I decided on a linseed oil finish. I brushed it on the flat surfaces and used a cloth on the round surfaces.


In the beginning…



Test spot. It’s a go!


Before and after.


Finished product. What a difference. Much better!

I bought the oil at my local lumberyard/home improvement store. It was located with the paint stripper and mineral spirits.  You can find it at any hardware store or similar.


Klean-Strip. The brand I used.

What was your project from the weekend? Let me know!



Posted by on August 19, 2013 in House


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Using the Coconut Oil

Ah, Pinterest, you have struck my fancy again. A few days ago, I was perusing the pictures and came across a post that I, myself, have posted about in the past. See that post here. 52 Uses for Coconut Oil started out as a list with more uses for coconut oil than I thought I could ever use. As it turns out, readers have added 70+ more uses to her list. Glancing at this made me realize that I bought a jar of it quite a few months ago and had not used it yet. I decided it was time. I will preface this list with the fact that I’m not really a coconut person.  It’s growing on me.  The taste and smell of the oil are faint, so I can handle it.


Here’s what I’ve done with it this week:
1. Facial moisturizer. After I washed my face, before going to bed, I slathered it on. It soaked right in. The next morning, I looked like a new person. My skin was very hydrated and more plump.

2. Additive to coffee.
From what I can see, others are consuming it in lots of ways. I thought I would try it in my coffee. I drink mine with only half & half. I added just a little amount of the oil, about half of a teaspoon, give or take. It added just a hint of flavor.

3. Cat food additive.
During these dry months, it’s important to keep pets hydrated so they aren’t scratching dry skin. You can lead a cat to water, you know. I melted just a little of the oil in the microwave and drizzled it over their food. They didn’t seem to mind at all and ate all of it. (Of course, cats can be finicky, so easy does it on the amount.)

4. Leather Moisturizer. I’ve got a pair of ropers (cowboy boots) that I’ve had for over ten years.  The toes were a little scuffed up and I couldn’t put my hands on my shoe polish at the time. So, I rubbed a little c. oil on it and it fixed them right up.  Not the same as a polish and buff, but definitely hydrated them and brought them to a better state.

5. Lip moisturizer.  Works just as well as it did on my face.

6. Scalp conditioner. With the air being dry lately, My scalp around my forehead  has been the same. In the morning before my shower, I rubbed some on my scalp and let it soak in for about ten minutes, then just washed as usual.  Worked like a charm.

What have you been doing with it?

Cheers, Olivia

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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in 3 Ways, Food, House, Pets


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Today, I’m a Plumber.

The kitchen faucet at my cabin has been leaking for how many months now? Six? At any rate, it was time to fix it. This time I decided to do it myself! I have a Delta washerless faucet with a center control handle. Having never seen the inside of a washerless faucet, I figured I could do it anyway, whatever the effort involved. Can’t be that hard, right?

So, how was I going to accomplish this, having zero knowledge of it except that there is no washer? Easy. Just go to the internet! I looked up a video on YouTube on “repair delta washerless faucet” and sure enough, an array of choices appeared for me to choose from. I went with the first- it was from Home Depot. The handywoman knew what she was doing. Her most important instruction was to keep everything in order and put it back in exactly the opposite order I took it out in.

When I got to my local hardware store, I told the person that helped me exactly what I needed. Then I found out that there are more than one kind of washerless faucet. Ugh. Didn’t know that. Mine is not the kind with the cartridge. It has a ball and stem center. After my second trip to the store, I came home, ready to repair!


My parts all in order at the top. Parts from the kit on the bottom.

I did exactly as my video handywoman told me to do- keep everything in order (even though it was a different type than she used). She was right. I was in and out relatively quickly and painlessly. I will not go into great detail about the steps necessary to replace the faucet.  There are plenty of people that have done it already.  What I will tell you is something they left out. Look at the tool below.  One end has an Allen/hex wrench and the other, a curved and hooked end.  The hex end takes the handle off.  The other end is for the cam (white plastic piece underneath the handle).  Nobody seems to point that out. ( I can’t seem to find the name for it the other tool/end.  Please feel free to provide it if you know.)


Tool that comes in the repair kit.

Nearing the end, when you are tightening everything up, this tool is crucial to the process.  Once the metal cap is on above all the small pieces, the handle can go back on.  However, the cam must be tightened! If it is not, everything will seem to appear in working order, but the faucet will produce a stream of water. Tightening the cap with an adjustable wrench or pipe wrench will not complete the job.  So, make sure this is snug before the handle is replaced.


Hooked ends on included tool fit right into the grooves.

Hopefully, this little tip will help you on your way to becoming an at-home plumber.  Live and learn.

Cheers, Olivia

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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in House


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Re-purposing Antiques. Time For a Field Trip!

One of my favorite things to do is to seek out the old and repurpose it into the new. Last week, my friend Cris of  Cris Angsten Interiors, came down to Atlanta to join me on an antiquing field trip.  Our first stop was at Kudzu Antiques in Decatur. This is truly one of my favorite places to shop for antiques and oddities. For the most part, if you want it, you’ll find it there. Our trip here was dual purpose.  She, of course, in it to find a new place to shop for design elements and I, to find goodies to reuse in different ways. What a fun day it was.  There were tons of possibilities for the both of us. I have complied a gallery of my finds, a couple of which you might see on her page as well. Click on any of the photographs below to begin a slideshow!

The second part of the trip was to a place that I’ve seen and been dying to go.  Who can turn an opportunity down to go to a place with a name like Desperate Housewares? Very clever. There is quite a variety of things in this store.  Furniture, rugs, glassware, artwork, and other eclectic items.  There is definitely a heavy influence of mid century to 80’s in this place.  This trip, I didn’t see anything I couldn’t live without, but it would be worth a trip back on occasion or a call to see if they had something specific.

So very 70's. I felt like I was at the Ropers' condo on Three's Company.

Here’s all the store info:

Kudzu Antiques
2928 East Ponce De Leon Avenue
Decatur, GA 30030-2216
Hours: 11am-7pm EST, 7 Days A Week
404-373-6498 If you have to leave a message, don’t worry. They are prompt in returning calls!
Desperate Housewares
Wednesday to Friday: 12:00 to 6:00 P.M.
Saturday: 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Sunday: 12:00 to 5:00 P.M.
Closed Monday and Tuesday
241 Boulevard NE
Atlanta, GA 30312

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Homemade Window Cleaner

Here’s a quick recipe for making your own window cleaner. Give it a shot! Works like a charm.

1 cup isopropyl alcohol
1 cup water
1 tsp. white vinegar

Put in a squirt bottle and you’re all set! Be sure to label the bottle! Let me know how it goes.


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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in House


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Spring Cleaning

Spring seems to be peeking over the fence a bit early this year, but winter will surely rear its head one more time within the next month. While the weather is so nice (albeit there is a high pollen count), my doors and windows are open and spring cleaning is underway. Time to get some projects started around the house. Yesterday’s chores included some yard work, cleaning out a pantry and replanting a Philodendron. Mission accomplished.


The finished product. He is much happier.

The Philodendron I was re-potting belongs to my landlord.  He lives in the house next door, but has some plants on my back patio.  This plant is from an older one that he has had for years.  He prefers to leave this plant out all year round, but that is not my choice.  Frost and cold weather are not good for tropical plants, by the way. He had no problem with me taking care of it for the winter.

It has been in my guest room and I have watered and misted its leaves regularly.  However, the leaves seemed to be dropping a little bit.  The time for re-potting has been imminent.  So, yesterday was the day.  Once out of the old pot, it was evident as to the decline in health of the plant. Root bound for sure.  The poor plant had eaten up almost all of is nutrients/soil. So, after the dead leaves were pulled off and new pot was in place, it got a good watering and fertilizing.  Currently, this is about 4′ tall in the pot.

 The next step was cleaning out one of my pantries in my kitchen.  My house was built in 1921, so storage is limited and awkward.  The kitchen set-up is terrible, but I do have a pretty good pantry for non-food storage. Shelves go all the way up to the high ceilings.  The problem lately is that I have been lazy in putting things away and it’s just gotten cluttered at the bottom.  Everything needed to be moved up and given a proper home.  As you can see from the picture, there’s a chest-of-drawers in the bottom.  (Got it from Craigslist when I moved in and it’s made all the difference.)  At any rate, everything has a better place now and it feels much less cluttered.  This took about 40 minutes to get it back together.  (The lighting is terrible, but just wanted to give the idea.)


The last project was the yard. This is a whole ‘nother post in itself. I will spare you the gruesome details, but I worked for a couple of hours trimming ivy and holly bushes. (Insert holly and ivy joke here.)

So, what is spring cleaning all about? With spring comes new life, growth, warmth, and renewal. As the Earth refreshes itself, so should we. Open the doors and let the fresh air in, getting rid of the stale winter atmosphere in your house. It works wonders.

Following that, here are some typical chores that are done for spring cleaning:

  • Cleaning your bed. This includes washing all linens and vacuuming the mattress.  Rotating the mattress and cleaning the pillows as well.
  • Vacuuming/shampooing rugs.
  • Wiping walls and baseboards down.
  • Cleaning off bookshelves and their items.
  • Cleaning/washing windows and their treatments.
  • Heavy duty cleaning to your floors.
  • Cleaning out closet, swapping winter for summer clothes.
  • Thoroughly vacuum all furniture cushions, underneath, behind, etc.
  • Clean and freshen up you outdoor spaces- patios, decks, porches.
  • Clean out attic or basement.

The list can go on and on depending on your home.  The process is not a quick one, mind you.  Give yourself quite a few days to complete these tasks.  The important thing is to stay motivated.  You will be thoroughly rewarded.

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in House


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